What you need to know
- Google has announced the expansion of user-choice billing enrollment in some countries.
- The new billing system will allow developers to offer alternative methods in their apps, as long as the Play Store billing system remains an option.
- However, enrollment is not yet available in the United States and there are some restrictions.
Criticism of the Play Store’s billing system forced Google to partner with Spotify earlier this year for an alternative method, which is now expanding to developers in more countries.
Google has quietly opened registration (opens in new tab) for its billing program of the user’s choice, allowing developers to offer alternative payment methods in their apps in addition to the controversial Play Store billing system (via 9to5Google (opens in new tab)). However, several restrictions are in place, the main one being that only non-game developers can enroll in the pilot.
In addition, developers must be located in the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, India, Indonesia, and Japan to be eligible. This means that US-based developers will have to wait a while, while Google is silent on when the program will launch in the United States.
The user choice billing system was first launched in March this year, with Spotify as the first partner. The expansion will allow developers registered in the above countries to participate in the pilot. In addition, they will see that their service fee paid to Google is reduced by 4% when a user signs up for their alternative billing system.
Google currently takes a 15% commission on the first $1 million in revenue from in-app purchases per year, after which it returns to 30%.
Apart from the app category limitation, there are several conditions developers must meet in order to offer alternative billing methods. For payments with debit or credit cards, they must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). Developers must also provide support for customer complaints or inquiries.
Developers are also prohibited from “enabling or disabling billing at the user’s discretion in a particular app or country” without first notifying Google. Changes to app enrollment preferences will take effect on the first day of the following month. If you are not a game developer, you can apply by filling out this billing declaration form (opens in new tab).
While the pilot will only accept non-gaming apps for now, Google stated that the pilot will “evolve as we learn more and get additional feedback.”